"It's the flock, the grove, that
matters. Our responsibility is to species, not to specimens;
to communities, not to individuals."
- Sara Stein, 1998, Author of Noah's Garden
"Each generation takes the earth as
trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed."
- J. Sterling Morton
"The forest is not merely an
expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself.
Nature is not merely created by God, nature is God. Whoever moves within
the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with
his entire body, breath sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness."
- Richard Nelson
"The clearest way into the universe is
through a forest wilderness."
- John Muir
The Sunset Western Garden Book, Eight Edition, 2007. Over 8,000 plants described. Essential reference resource for all gardeners in the United States.
"The forests are the flags of nature.
They appeal to all and awaken inspiring universal feelings. Enter the forest and the boundaries of nations are forgotten. It may be that some time an immortal pine will be the flag of a united peaceful world."
- Enos A. Mills
"The morning woods were
utterly new. A strong yellow light pooled beneath the trees;
my shadow appeared and vanished on the path, since a third of the trees I walked
were still bare, a third spread a luminous haze wherever they grew, and another
blocked the sun with new, whole leaves. The snakes were out - I saw a
one on the path - and the butterflies were vaulting and furling about; the phlox
was at its
peak, and even the evergreens looked greener, newly created and washed."
- Annie Dillar, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
"The grove is the centre of their
It is regarded as the cradle of the race and the dwelling-place
of the supreme god to whom all things are subject and obedient."
- Tacitus, Germania
"The groves were God's first temples."
- William Cullen Bryant, A Forest Hymn
Oaks of North America by Howard A. Miller, Samuel H. Lamb, 1984.
"Ay me! ay me! the woods decay and
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground.
Man comes and tills the earth and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality consumes:
I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit,
Here at the quiet limit of the world.
A white-haired shadow roaming like a dream,
The ever silent spaces of the East.
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn."
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, Tithonus
"I frequently tramped eight or ten
miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree,
or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines."
- Henry David Thoreau, 1817 - 1862
"When you enter a grove peopled with
ancient trees, higher than
the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined
branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of
the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike
you with the presence of a deity?"
Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History by Diana Wells, 2010
"A grove of giant redwoods
or sequoias should be kept
just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral."
- Theodore Roosevelt
"In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical
ones, they seem to move through me."
- John Fowles
"It was not that the jagged precipices
were lofty, that the encircling woods were the dimmest shade, or that the waters were profoundly deep; but that over all, rocks, wood, and water, brooded the spirit of repose, and the silent energy of nature stirred the soul to its inmost depths."
- Thomas Cole
"Poetry often introduces a mythological
dimension which reflects the close
connections between the gods and commonly encountered trees. A passage
from Vergil's Georgics, in which the poet enumerates grafted trees and
miraculous growth, incorporates several such mythological references: myrtles, sacred to Venus; the poplar, crown of Hercules; and the acorns of Jupiter's symbolic oak, referring to his grove at Dodona. The pine was held sacred to Pan, the Roman Faunus, and in his Eclogues Vergil describes the pastoral god's home on Mt. Maenalus in Arcadia. Propertius stresses the god's fondness for the tree, and Horace, for his part, dedicates a pine to the goddess Diana in a famous ode."
- John M. McMahon, Trees: Living Links to the Classical Past
"All life is figured by them as a Tree.
Igdrasil, the Ash-tree of existence, has its roots deep-down in the kingdoms of Death: its trunk reaches up heaven-high, spreads its boughs over the whole Universe: it is the Tree of Existence. At the foot of it, in the Death-Kingdom, sit the three Fates - the Past, Present and Future; watering its roots from the Sacred Well. It's "bough," with their buddings and disleafings, - events, things suffered, things done, catastrophes, - stretch through all lands and times. Is not every leaf of it a biography, every fiber there an act or word? Its boughs are the Histories of Nations. The rustle of it is the noise of Human Existence, onwards from of old. .... I find no
similitude so true as this of a Tree. Beautiful; altogether beautiful and great."
- Thomas Carlyle
"A virgin forest is where the hand of
man has never set foot."
- Author Unknown
"Going to the woods is going home."
- John Muir
One Old Druid's Journey: Notebooks of the Librarian of Gushen Grove
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
Trees: Lore, Myths, Magick, Legends, Esoterica
"Then I was standing on
the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood
there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for
I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit,
and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.
An I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops
that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy."
- Black Elk Speaks, The Great Vision, 1932, p. 36
"What will the axemen do, when they
have cut their way from sea to sea?"
- James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers, 1823
"There is something distinctive about the sight and sound of a human body
falling from the rain forest canopy. The breathless scream, the wildly gyrating
arms and legs pumping thin air, the rush of leaves, snapping branches, and the
sickening thud, followed by uneasy silence. Listening to that silence, I
reflected on how plant collecting can be an unpleasant sort of activity.
- Eric Hansen, Orchid Fever
"My roots are in the
depths of the woods."
"There are no medium-sized
trees in the deep forest. There are only
the towering ones, whose canopy spreads across the sky. Below, in the gloom, there's light for nothing but mosses and ferns. But when a giant falls, leaving a little space ... then there's a race -- between the trees on either side, who want to spread out, and the seedlings
below, who race to grow up. Sometimes, you can make your own space."
- Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
"A few minutes ago every tree was excited,
bowing to the roaring
storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious
enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees
are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is
throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings,
while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No
wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more
they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the
farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself."
- John Muir
"I believe in the
cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. Look at the sun: If there is no sun, then we cannot exist. So nature is my
god. To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals."
- Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990
"No town can fail of beauty, though
its walks were gutters and its houses hovels, if venerable trees make magnificent
colonnades along its streets."
- Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs, 1887
"I have always found thick woods a little
intimidating, for they are so secret and enclosed. You may seem alone but you are not, for there are always eyes watching you. All the wildlife of the woods, the insects, birds, and animals, are well aware of your presence no matter how softly you may tread, and they follow your every move although you cannot see them."
- Thalassa Cruso
"Forests were the first temples of the
Divinity, and it is in the forests that men have grasped the first idea of architecture."
- Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, Genie du Christianisme, 1802
"In the woods we return to reason and
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The cultivation of trees is the
cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in man."
- J. Sterling Morton
"When walking through a warm and lush forest
setting one's thoughts can easily take flights of fancy. It is not difficult to shed the layers of modern life and find
one's more subtle or primitive beginnings. Somewhere from deep within the
spiritand majesty of each single tree steps forth and at once one can find themselves transported to a world of shadow and shade."
- Morgan La Fey, Sacred Trees
"As Americans, we have become
comfortable with our environment of concrete, steel, plastics, and artificial fibers, colors, and flavorings to such a degree that many question whether or not we even need
to focus on a relationship with the creation. We have lost the desire to seek God and the ability to see God in all things. And perhaps, we have closed our eyes to the importance of God's creation as
expressed through the forests because we have substituted the wonders of human creation for the wonders of God's creation. This form of idolatry should concern us."
- Susan Drake, The Global Forest, 2000
"The forest is a peculiar organism of
unlimited kindness and benevolence
that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the
products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.
- Buddhist Sutra
"Reforesting the earth is possible,
given a human touch."
- Sandra Postel and Lori Heise
"The country where he lives
by the ghost of an old forest.
In the cleared fields
where he gardens
and pastures his horses
it stood once,
and will return. There will be
a resurrection of the wild.
Already it stands in wait
at the pasture fences."
- Wendell Berry, Window Poems
"By the grey woods, by the swamp,
where the toad and newt encamp, by the dismal tarns and pools, where dwell the Gouls. By each spot the most unholy, by each nook most melancholy, there the traveller meets, aghast, sheeted memories of the Past. Shrouded forms that start and sigh, as they pass the wanderer by. White-robed forms of
friends long given; In agony, to the Earth - and Heaven."
- Edgar Allen Poe, Dreamland
Whispers from the Woods: The Lore & Magic of Trees by Sandra Kynes, 2006.
"Government cannot close its eyes to
the pollution of waters, to the erosion of soil, to the slashing of forests any more thanit can close its eyes to the need for slum clearance and schools.
- Franklin D.Rooselvelt
"It is not so much for its beauty that
the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit."
- Robert Louis Stevenson
"We are the books in your hands,
the sturdy chairs on your floors,
the upright walls of your houses,
the strong slanted roofs protecting your heads,
the holders of food during your meals,
the coffins for your rotting flesh,
the doors to your worlds,
the tissues cleaning the crap off your arses,
the boats for your fishers of men,
the forests on your Mother Earth,
the heat in your hearth,
the Sacred Rattles of the Winds,
the cooling shade for your summers,
the handles of your tools of life and death.
We are the Ancient Green Ones,
Yggdrasil, Ashvattha, Etz Chaim,
Arbotvitae, Axis Mundi of Many Names;
Ten Thousand Forms yet One of Kind,
the oldest living beings,
the largest and tallest living beings.
Yes, the Givers of the fruits and nuts in your hands.
Yes, the Givers of the air that you breathe.
Yes, the Trees, the Trees, the Trees!"
- Mike Garofalo, Above the Fog
"I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant
breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung
upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.
It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of
our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my
brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the
yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy."
- Hamlin Garland, McClure's, February 1899
"Acts of creation are ordinarily
reserved for gods and poets.
To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel."
- Aldo Leopold
"It's one thing not to see the forest
for the trees, but then to go on
to deny the reality of the forest is a more serious matter."
- Paul Weiss
"Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise."
- George Washington Carver
"Man has been endowed with reason,
with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, and the climate's ruined and the land
grows poorer and uglier every day."
- Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
"The forests are dying, the rivers are
dying, and we are called to act. To return Earth to harmony is to restore the harmonious principles within ourselves and to act as responsible caretakers - to save the forests and the waters for future generations."
- Dhyani Ywahoo
"Trees can reduce the heat of a
summer's day, quiet a highway's noise, feed the hungry, provide shelter from the wind and warmth in the winter. You see, the forests are the sanctuaries not only of wildlife, but also of the human spirit. And every tree is a compact between generations."
- George Bush, U.S. President, 1989
"What we are doing to the forests of
the world is but a mirror reflection
of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."
"Restoration ecology is experimental
science, a science of love and altruism. In its attempts to reverse the processes of ecosystem degradation it runs exactly counter to the market system, to land speculation, to the whole
cultural attitude of regarding the Earth as commodity rather than community. It is a soft-souled science."
- Stephanie Mills
"... the very process of the
restoring the land to health is the process through which we become attuned to Nature and, through Nature, with ourselves. Restoration forestry, therefore, is both the means and the end, for as we
learn how to restore the forest, we heal the forest, and as we heal the forest, we heal ourselves.
- Chris Maser, Forest Primeval
"A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias
should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral."
- Theodore Roosevelt
"Invest in the
millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years."
- Wendell Berry, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
"Four hundred year old trees,
who draw aliveness from the earth
like smoke from the heart of God,
we come, not knowing
you will hush our little want
to be big;
we come, not knowing
that all the work is so much
busyness of mind; all
the worry, so much
busyness of heart.
As the sun warms anything near,
being warms everything still
and the great still things
that outlast us
make us crack
like leaves of laurel
releasing a fragrance
that has always been.
- Mark Nepo, In Muir Woods
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more."
- Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 1818
Japanese Maples: Momiji and Keade by J. D. Vertrees and Peter Gregory, 2001.
"There are no medium-sized trees in the deep
forest. There are only the
towering ones, whose canopy spreads across the sky. Below, in the gloom,
there's light for nothing but mosses and ferns. But when a giant falls,
a little space ... then there's a race -- between the trees on either side, who want to spread out, and the seedlings below, who race to grow up. Sometimes, you can make your own space."
- Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
The Spirit of Gardening
Over 3,800 Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Quips, One-Liners, Clichés, Quotes, and Insights
Arranged by Over 250 Topics
Over 15 Megabytes of Text
Over 21 Million Webpages (excluding graphics) Served to Readers Around the World
From January 1, 1999 through March 1, 2011
This webpage has been online since January 1999.
Compiled by Karen Garofalo and Mike Garofalo from Red Bluff, California
Last Updated: February 21, 2011
Green Way Research
Spirit of Gardening Blog